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April 17, 2012

Present: Chair Kellner, Immediate Past Chair Overton, Secretary  Sawyers; Senators Argyropoulos, Aspnes, Auerbach, Borden, Freeman, Funkhouser, Headen, Holden, Jasper, Kotek, Lubischer, Lunardi, Moore, Nfah-Abbenyi, Rucker, Snyder, Sztajn, Tonelli, Tu, L. Williams, Zonderman

Excused: Provost Arden, Parliamentarian Weiner; Senators Campbell, Carver, Mitchell, Robinson, M. Williams

Absent: Senators Bourham, Edmisten, Fuentes, Hammerberg, Hatcher, Khosla

Guests: Duane Larick, Dean, Graduate School; Betsy Brown, Office of the Provost; Emerson Barker, Student Government; Richard Bernhard, Industrial and System Engineering;

1. Call to Order
Chair Kellner called the 14th meeting of the 58th session to order at 3 p.m.

2. Remarks from the Chair
Chair Kellner announced that today is the last meeting of the 58th session. The first meeting of the 59th session will be August 21. 

Chair Kellner recognized the newly elected senators that were present and thanked the retiring senators for serving. 

Chair Kellner gave an overview of events that had taken place during the 2011-12 academic year. 

He stated that he thinks the challenges today stand pretty much where they did at the start of the year, but at the same time, this year has been a year of processes.  One thing that is unusual about this year is that the processes are major ones and the Senate has been involved in most of them in one way or another stemming from the Strategic Realignment process. 

BORST is one important process that is being hurried into existence and things have to come together soon into a proposal that we can review.

The Academic Science Program is another one that will be paying off in suggestions very soon. 

The review of Academic Programs with their metrics are in the works.  The departments are hearing about information that is needed to help this process along, aiming at a more rational distribution of funds.

The Hunt Library has a soft opening and then a hard opening will be coming later and it will still have  kind of a  skeleton crew.  It is expected to be open within the next year or so.

The Enrollment Plan is in place so we can tell exactly how many will of which and what will be here in the year 2020. 

SACS is coming along slowly.

Chair Kellner stated that the major faculty problem remains to be money, both absolute and psychologically.  The salary issue just nags.  The Legislature doesn’t want to or cannot appropriate more money for faculty salaries and has not been willing to give the flexibility to the university campuses, although I believe that I heard this kind of flexibility to make adjustments with university money had been given to the K-12 and Community Colleges.  On the other hand the absolute dollars are the most important, but psychologically this leaves people mentally tired when we are not getting that kind of reinforcement, it’s important to think of other times, what Chancellor Woodson has done in terms of university scholars programs, but it can only go so far, given the relative numbers of the people rewarded and for the people not rewarded, the problem pretty much remains.

Chair Kellner explained the Faculty Senate committee structure to the new senators that were present.  We have four Senate committees and every member serves on one of the committees.  There are university standing committees where the Senate has a liaison to serve on each of the committees. The third committee he referred to was special committees such as search committees.

Chair Kellner stated that the challenges for the Senate are:

1) A better way of dealing with issues of concern

2) The communication between the senate committees and the chair and communication between the senate committees and the Senate. 

3) Finally the complications having to do with the elections:  Senate, Faculty Assembly, Council on Athletics, Hearings and 604-607 Grievance elections. We need to learn how to recruit earlier and more effectively. It needs to be made clear when people are recruited that they know what is involved because sometimes they don’t.

Special Recognition                                                                                                                                       
Chair Kellner announced that former Senator Richard Bernhard was the recipient of the 2012 American Society for Engineering Society (ASEE)  National Engineering Economy Teaching Excellence Award.  The award consist of a $10,000 honorarium, an inscribed plaque, and a $1,000 stipend to assist the award recipient in travel costs.

Chair Kellner thanked Immediate Past Chair Overton  for her contributions over the last four years.

3.  Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 13, April 3, 2012                                                            
The minutes were approved as submitted.

4. Remarks about Graduate Education                                                                                                                   
Dr. Duane Larick, Dean of the Graduate School stated that they made changes to the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP) because it was implemented in 1997 and since the implementation of the plan,  there has never been a sustainable mechanism for growing funding and because of that you either have to 1) go out and find sources and additional money as the enrollment grew and the needs for the GSSP grew or 2) we have had to make changes in the plan.  Historically we have been very successful at finding additional money.  With some very significant increases of the last few years we have had to do both. We have found additional money from the Provost, Chancellor, Vice Chancellor Lomax, and the Office of Research and Innovation, but at the same time we were charged with trying to look at central change, so there are four that are being implemented for July 1. 

Larick stated that the best calculation that he has is that for this fiscal year we are overspent by $1.75 million and for next fiscal year by $2.3 million, so even with the changes we are proposing for July 2012 we will be overspent by more than $2 million. 

The Provost has agreed to come up with that, but with that note came the requirement to try to look at implementing changes.  The first one really isn’t a change, it’s that tuition support beyond the allowable time limit will no longer be paid by the GSSP. From day one the GSSP has had a time limit; 4 semesters for a masters degree, 8 semesters for a doctoral student with a previous masters in the same or related field, and 10 semesters for a doctoral student without a previous masters.  That has been the guideline all along and as the person managing the GSSP, if we had money left over it made prefect sense to spend that money in support of graduate students and we have been doing that for the last few years.  There were years that we would have projected a million dollars in revenue remaining in the plan, so if we had a masters student that was funded on a research grant or TA for a fifth semester,  then we would match the GSSP for that student.  We are not able to use GSSP resources for those students starting July 1.

Larick stated that the second one is historically the colleges of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Engineering, Education, and Natural Resources have participated in a 25% tuition remission matching program. Other colleges would be CALS and Design and Textiles and Veterinary Medicine, CHASS and one other.  The decision was made that all colleges would participate in the 25% match.  The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition next year will be $12,048.  The university will pay $9, 036 and their source of their stipend will pay $3,000, so those who have ledger five accounts that are funding students will be participating in this 25% match, the same as the College of Engineering has in the past.

There are a couple of reasons to be in that and one is financial and two is because of one of the Federal Circulars, A-21 to be specific and basically we are at a point where we have to decide that we are either going to be all in on federal grants or all out on natural and federal grants.  From an audit perspective we were in trouble telling the National Institute of Health that the grant was submitted through the College of Engineering.  We have a rule that says you have to pay 25% of the tuition remission.  If the grant was submitted through the College of Veterinary Medicine we don’t. 

The third one is residency.  Again, this isn’t really a change in the graduate student support plan.  You know that domestic students that are non North Carolina residents have an opportunity to complete residency and apply for  North Carolina residency for tuition purposes.  We historically have spent approximately one million dollars a year on graduate students that are in their third semester or later that have not applied for residency for tuition purpose.  So, we have decided that it is in the best interest of the graduate student support plan to make a requirement that clearly says that every year, students will begin the residency process and submit an application or they would result in the loss of eligibility for tuition remission. It does not say the students have to receive residency.  We are looking for that good faith effort and we are still working on what that good faith effort is going to be.  I know it’s going to be, that students have to get online and complete the residency form.  If they never complete the form it’s going to be hard to think that was a good faith effort.  They are also going to be strongly encouraged to start working on their residency as soon as they come to campus in the fall. 

The last one is very specific for a couple of colleges, but it is a change in the definition of slot-eligible funding sources.  Currently, premium tuition sources of graduate students’ support was treated as being slot eligible, so they were treated like TA’s, but the College of Management has a tuition premium and if they use that premium to pay a student they were treated like a TA on state money.  In the future they will be treated like an RA.  Those are the four primary changes. 

Questions and Comments

Senator Snyder - In the 4, 8, and 10 semesters, if they don’t receive it does the semester still count? 

Larick stated that it’s not from the time they first go on an assistantship or first qualify for the support plan, it’s from the time they initiate their degree.

Snyder  stated that eight semesters of eligibility and not eight semesters of funding, doesn’t seem to be fair.

Larick stated that again, it’s that basic principle of moving the money toward the new student and the understanding that there will be a limited pool of money, so the idea would be that if you have limited dollars it’s better to spend those dollars on the recruitment of a new student than necessarily the ninth or eleventh semester of that preceding student. 

Larick stated that the graduate school is also truly interested in the retention of doctoral and master students, and I know  the number one cause of attrition is the loss of funding.

Senator Bordon shared a concern about not being able to use funding for students that have been here for several semesters – maybe paying their own way for several semesters.

Senator Lunardi’s noted that some private schools have reduced tuition for graduate students. 

Larick stated that with doctoral students the full time registration requirements are changing so that we are not going to tie them to preliminary exams anymore. That has not been an effective fix.  When the students complete  their first work and they are eligible to drop to three credits, we allow them to do that.  The university requirement to be full time is nine credits until the point where they don’t need nine anymore. The UNC system requires that we set a minimum requirement and one of the reasons we set the minimum requirement at 3 instead of one is financial, because we submit student contact hours to general administration to the legislature for enrollment funding.  If we were to select one instead of three then our SCH production as an institution would be dramatically less and it would dramatically lessen graduate education, which is the highest funded of the twelve cell metric.

Senator Lunardi stated that her question concerns whether you can be registered and not pay?

Larick stated that there is a different tuition rate for distance education and for on campus, and there is a tuition premium where we can charge additional tuition, but we don’t have the authority to establish a reduced tuition rate for key students.  Private universities can do that.

Chair Kellner stated that point 2 struck him as one that was going to cost people who are financing their PhD students on their grants. They are going to have considerable expenses that they hadn’t had  before, so they will have fewer graduate students. 

Larick responded yes, the cost for a student that is on a research grant, a ledger five grant in colleges other than Engineering, PAMS, Education, and Natural Resources because they have been participating in the other colleges, the grant will have an additional $3012 of tuition remission for a full time nine credit student.  That will cluster down when the student goes to 3 credit hours to one thousand dollars.

Chair Kellner asked, will this have any relevance to graduate students who are not paid for with a grant. 

Larick stated that during those 4, 8, and 10 semester time limits it will impact me, but if the program were to decide to keep a student on a teaching assistantship beyond the deadline then they would again have to come up with that $3,000 dollars out of the college or department.

Chair Kellner – Would the graduate student become more expensive at a certain level and will the impact be a decrease in enrollment?

Larick responded, the graduate students will become more expensive to the unit that has appointed them.

Senator Snyder --Is that going to affect the College of Engineering?

Larick stated that it would affect them the same way it always has.  The College of Engineering has been doing that so you will not see any difference.

Senator Headen - You can’t predict but you must have some sense of what we are going to do.

Larick stated that if he thought the combination of what we were going to do was going to dramatically reduce enrollment that he would have been raising that flag with the Provost and the Chancellor. We have enrollment growth targets even for fall of 2012.  We are lagging slightly behind in registration of continuing students.  We are looking at those numbers, but I’m not expecting this to have to dramatically decrease our graduate student numbers for fall 2012.

Senator Tonelli --Does this get added into a grant proposal?

Larick responded yes, it’s a budget line in the grant proposal.  Now if the grant says they will fund 50,000 dollars - that is the maximum amount of dollars that you can get, then that means there are 3,000 fewer dollars that you would spend on supplies and materials. 

Senator Tonelli--In terms of what we are able to do with these grants----

Larick stated that means that different universities in different states have different requirements.

Senator Auerbach inquired about PhD programs that don’t provide grants.

Larick stated that if a student is funded on an academic program account, during that 4, 8, 10 semester window you won’t be remitting that $3,000, but if the college decides to extend beyond the timeline then they would have to come up with that.

Senator Borden commented that he thinks it is fair to say that the extra cost will ultimately come out of a faculty member’s summer salary.

Larick stated that if you are at a ceiling, that is a very good point, because you have to get the research done, so you are going to pay first for the supplies, equipment, and material.

Senator Argyropoulos – Are the changes in enrollment planning and changes in the GSSP coordinated?

Larick—We have an enrollment planning committee and it is the charge of that committee on an annual basis to look at our biannual enrollment plan that we submit.  We have to submit a two-year plan to General Administration for funding and then we have to submit an aspirational 2020 plan of where we would like to be.  We work with the college deans and associate deans at the graduate level.  The deans work with the director of graduate programs to try and set a realistic list of what is going to happen from Fall 2011 to Fall 2012 and 2013, and then we talk more at the college level about what the apsirational growth is.  Talking about the 2020 plan there is a couple of key points that I would emphasize.  One is it says that there is going to be limited growth in undergraduate  programs, that state appropriation tuitions are the only source of support.  Instead we are going to emphasize growth in graduate programs that are linked to federally and privately funded research initiatives that are supported with premium tuition or where students are self supported.  Then when we set those targets new enrollment for doctoral students is 40%, overall growth for doctoral students is 29%.  It says we created ambitious doctoral enrollment targets, especially those related to strategic research initiatives that strengthen interdisciplinary 10% and I would say that that number is an ambitious target.  We are not being funded on that target but we are planning on that target, so an example of where that comes into effect is the university architect in the space plan that is being created for 2020 is taking into account those numbers. 

Chair Kellner - Does the enrollment plan need any further approval beyond GA?  Does it need to go to the Board of Governors or have they already signed off on it?

Larick - The biannual plan needs to be approved by the Board of Governors and eventually is approved by the Legislature because they are the ones to say we are going to give you the enrollment increase for that money.

Chair Kellner -  Is it possible that the Legislature might say that we think we have better uses for our money and for NC State University than to hold down production of undergraduates?

Larick – Sure, I think we could get feedback from the Legislature that says they don’t think we are, well I think generally what happens is give and take between General Administration and the Legislature, it’s not likely that they are going to come back to the Chancellor. It’s going to be feedback between the Legislators’ funding committees.

Vice Provost Brown stated that they don’t control enrollment but they do control funding.

Chair Kellner--You use the word “ambitious,” but if you increase the number of PhD students without increasing the number of PhD teaching faculty I think you have a problem.

Larick stated that when people ask what does he need to do to accomplish this, his first answer is to hire tenure track faculty.   It’s not quite that simple because with tenure track faculty needs to come space for their computers and labs and the other things that they use. 

Senator Headen commented that he hears us making investment in a more expensive area without any clear way of funding.

Larick stated that the hiring plan that he has seen is as aggressive as we can be today with the money.  Increases in doctoral students result in new money from the UNC System.  If the funding formula was to change and the state was to decide that they weren’t going to fund growth the way that they’ve done it we would have to rethink this plan, that this plan is predicated on business continuing that way.

Senator Zonderman observed that there is a sense that these different pieces are linked—it really goes from grad school to deans on up—I would urge the committee to get into a conversation with the Faculty Senate.  I have no problem being ambitious but we really have to be realistic.

Larick – The Enrollment Planning Committee works through the deans with the undergraduate associate/graduate deans and my perception in representing graduate education and that committee is that the amount of input that comes into forming that process at the college level varies pretty dramatically.  Some colleges are more engaged in that process and some are less.  We are working on some modeling work now to try to help people to know that if you admit this number of students what impact it will have.  We continue to do that but the engagement varies from college to college.

Chair Kellner – I think that there is a kind of bad scenario that people fear might happen.  It’s a lot easier to ramp up our PhD enrollment than it is to increase the number of new faculty. So, it seems that you would want to revisit these things pretty frequently to find out just where you stand with regards to faculty and to make the growth of PhD students dependent on realistic growth and funding for faculty increase not just new faculty but increase in PhD level faculty.

Larick stated, that happens when you do the biennium planning. As you do that plan, that is really when that happens because you look at that plan and you look at where you are today and you look at the apsirational plan. The last time we were asked to do this we had a 2017 plan with 40,000 students.  We have dramatically cut that plan back from 40,000 to 37,000 and have added three more years.

Health Insurance Cost for Graduate Students

Question: Will changes in health insurance costs for graduate students make graduate education and sponsored research more expensive?

Dean Larick stated that the question was, would the change make sponsored research more costly.  The simple answer to that is no.  The graduate student support plan insurance is done by Hill Chesson and it’s Blue Cross Blue Shield.  The cost of that per year is $1706.00 for this year, it was last year and it will be exactly the same next year so our loss ratio was right within the range it should have been. That only covers 2700 of the 8500 graduate students on our campus.  We also have a hard waiver tuition requirement.  Any student that doesn’t have insurance has to buy insurance, undergraduate or graduate.  The cost of that insurance, with the rule of the UNC System, they have created a plan and the cost of that insurance for the first three years is $833, the loss ratios have been horrible on that plan.  They have an opportunity to renegotiate the plan.  Right now the cost for the graduate student support plan students on our campus is going to rise from $833—if the UNC System puts all students in one to $1398.  The second proposal would separate undergraduate from graduate students, $1214 for undergraduates and $2167 for graduate students. The third plan is age-banded—less than 25 - $994;  25-34- $2000; 35-44 is $3,200; 44 and up is $4,000.  The average age of a graduate student at NC State is 31 years old.  The average in this banded process is going to be more than $2,000.  We are very engaged with the Insurance Committee, I’m going to meet with the Chancellor and Provost to try to encourage them that if they won’t go with the combined system, they should eliminate the requirement. We have asked Blue Cross Blue Shield  to come back and give us a bid for what it would cost us to operate our own hard waiver plan and  to see if we can get Tom Ross to let us back out.  I think they will, because in honesty NC State and Chapel Hill the age population of students on this campus is just a little older.  They may let us back out and we may be able to get that insurance for those students for $1700 but students are still going to see a $833 to $1700 or $1800 increase in insurance.

5. University Standing Committees

Group Insurance and Benefits Committee

Senator Funkhouser reported that three major issues were considered by the University Group and Benefits Committee in 2011-2012.

1) Would it be possible and/or practical for Student Health Services to offer medical services, including medical consultation and pharmacy, to university faculty and staff, perhaps as a benefit of employment.  If Student Health Services were to offer service to faculty and staff, significant changes must occur, including additional staff, changes in the type and range of drugs maintained in the pharmacy, the pharmacy’s operating schedule, and a system of financial operation quite different from its current fee-based system.  The committee decided to suspend further investigation into this matter at this time.

2) The GIBC committee endorsed moving the supplemental disability insurance plan from our own separate plan  (that is, for NC State University employees only) to a plan proposed for employees at all UNC institutions. The new plan was put in place in Fall 2011.  

3) The GIBC committee learned about, discussed, and considered recommendations regarding the new MetLife  life insurance plan which became effective on April 1, 2012. 

Registration Records and Calendar  - Senator Lubischer reported that the eight week sessions exist and that there are opportunities to teach a mini course. 

DELTA - Senator Jasper reported that there was a disparity between the cost of DE courses and on-campus classes.  Those have been realigned and for the fall semester there will be no difference in the cost for taking DE or regular classes for full time students. Those students that are not degree seeking will be charged at the DE rate.

Senator Jasper stated that illuminate is going away, that they are looking for an alternative to it.

Strategy for course flipping – There was a discussion on that and they were going to look at some strategies and resources for course flipping.

6. Resolution on Defibrillators                                                                                                              
Chair Kellner presented the resolution for a second reading and noted that a very minor revision was made.  The word “appropriate” was added to the resolve.

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the resolution.  The motion passed with 13 yes, 3 no, and 2 abstentions.

7. Executive Committee Nominating Process
Chair Kellner stated that a considerable number of continuing senators will not be able to serve on the Executive Committee next year, therefore the incoming senators will vote for six of the eleven eligible senators that are left.

Chair Kellner requested that the nominating process proceed as usual.  He stated that it will be useful  to him since he has to choose two Executive Committee members from the eligible list of senators.

8. Adjournment                                                                                                                                            
The fifty eighth session of the NC State Faculty Senate adjourned at 4:44 p.m.

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